The Vampire Diaries “Somebody That I Used to Know” Review (Season 7 Episode 19)

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On the latest episode of “The Vampire Diaries,” the show went out of its way to make Benzo happen, in “Somebody That I Used to Know,” actually saying in the dialogue at one point: “This is just a series of unfortunate events leading up to your ultimate salvation.” Couldn’t have said it better myself, though it remains to be seen whether Bonnie will get that salvation- or at least a better-written role for the poor, long-suffering Kat Graham.

That said, at least Graham got some quality screen time for once this season, even if a lot of it was spent moping around, as per usual, and trying to stave off the latest threat to her life. Interspersed with this was attempts to build an entire relationship over the course of a few short scenes, and if it didn’t quite work…did I mention the screen time thing?

The show actually did a halfway decent job of justifying the whole Carlaric (Alaroline?) thing by not really doing any such thing in the first place, but rather showing how Alaric was simply there for her in her time of need in Stefan’s absence, providing a solid support system for her/his kids, while at the same time largely eschewing any sort of romantic relationship whatsoever, despite their plans to tie the knot. Or were they merely Alaric’s plans?

As noted by Stefan, the two were still sleeping in separate beds after all this time, and even in front of Stefan, when she would have been justified in amping things up just to spite him, all Alaric got was a chaste kiss on the cheek when he returned from his outing of vampire hunting. All of this makes perfect to me, and is completely logical.

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Unfortunately, all I see when I see Bonnie and Enzo together is someone doing exactly what I implied Caroline could have done to get a rise out of Stefan: laying it on thick seemingly just to get a rise out of Damon on purpose.

As I’ve said before, this might have been effective had anything actually gone down between Damon and Bonnie in a romantic sense, but by denying us that, it just comes off more as two people who should know better acting like a couple of horny teenagers, and one would think both are above that sort of thing at this point.

Sure, one could argue that, what with Bonnie’s life on the line and time of the essence, that of course they’d be clinging to one another hard- except that, by the show’s own timeline, the actual hooking-up between them only happened fairly recently, having essentially avoided it up to a point until then.

I suppose one could say the two were in their “honeymoon” phase then, but it still feels pretty artificial to me, overall. I get that extreme circumstances can push people to do things they might not normally do, but given that he left her alone so much of the time, it seems more like they did it out of sheer boredom than anything else.

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As the show itself pointed out, all Bonnie had to do at the cabin she was hiding out in was to look through the files Enzo provided her, practice her guitar…and not much else. Who wouldn’t get bored- and horny- living such a solitary lifestyle? Hey, any port in the storm and all that. Doesn’t mean they have to fall in love.

I suppose if the writers were smart- and the jury’s still out on that one until the end of the season, at the very least- they’d go for the long game, as it were. By which I mean, the whole Benzo thing would just be two people that looked to each other for solace because they were in denial of the reality of their situation: that Bonnie was really in love with Damon and he left her to go sleep in a coffin just as things might have gotten somewhere and that Enzo was just disappointed yet again in the friend that repeatedly kept bailing on him. Both practically said as much within the episode.

And yet, I can’t tell if the writers are playing the long game or just hedging their bets and leaving the door open just a smidge, just to test the waters and make sure everyone’s really going to be onboard with this thing after such an extreme reaction early on to it. The problem is, with only three episodes left, I would imagine the rest of the season is in the can or close to it, so there’s not much they can do about it if this episode in particular goes over like a lead balloon.

I suppose they will just let the chips fall where they may and do damage control if necessary next season, which seems the more likely bet. Given the extremely negative reaction to this season in general, it’s safe to say that next season, which may well be their last, will be all about the damage control anyway, so there you go.

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Even Ian Somerhalder seemed to indicate he recognized that things were a bit dire when he not only prematurely announced that the show would end after next season, but that they would be working overtime to make sure it went out on a high note. One can only hope that is the case, because this season’s whole time-jump gambit definitely rubbed a lot of people the wrong way, that’s for sure. Take a look at the imbd.com message boards, just to name one source, if you don’t believe me.

The plus side is that they can totally do it over the course of a new season, easy. “The Vampire Diaries” would hardly be the first show to rebound from an off-season to be better than ever coming back in the next one. Witness everything from “Buffy” to “Lost” to “Breaking Bad”- all had their ups and downs and all ended relatively strongly. (Okay, a lot of people had mixed feelings about that final “Lost” episode, but up until then, the final season itself was really entertaining and go-for-broke.)

We shall see, but until then, this was a relatively decent episode, complaints aside, thanks to the vampire hunting-palooza that went on, with two separate teams working together to vanquish as many as possible vampires from Rayna’s list. I liked the unique combination of teams in play, with Stefan and Alaric on one end and Damon, Enzo and Bonnie and the other, or as Damon playfully put it: “Bonnie & Clyde & Clyde.”

Say what you will about the dubious romantic couplings in play here, as vamp-hunting teams, these two groups worked like gangbusters, with lots of fun kills and quick, funny quips. I liked Damon cutting one vamp’s head off with a “Slippery When Wet” sign and tossing another’s head into a trash can like he was shooting a lay-up on the b-ball court, while Stefan played a round of golf with another vamp’s heart as the ball.

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Amusing lines included when Damon whined to Stefan that “I’m trying to save someone who hates me” in regards to Bonnie and Stefan shot back: “Which one? There are so many.” I also got a kick out of the one where Damon remarked that all the practice killing was improving Bonnie’s aim and she shot back: “I just picture your face as the target.”

The main gist of all this was a deal everyone concerned made with Rayna- if they helped her hunt down all the vamps that were making her head a crazy place to be, thus giving her peace of mind in the process, then she would transfer her last life to Bonnie, thinking it would heal her in the process.

Granted, this would sever her connection to the so-called “Everlasting”- aka the link between the hunted and the hunter- and it might well kill her in the process, but at least she’d die without all those voices in her head. Also, as Damon pointed out, they no longer had a reason not to kill her if she didn’t, being as how doing so wouldn’t accomplish much, what with the Phoenix Stone already destroyed.

So, the choice was hers, let them help, or be driven crazy by all the voices/emotions in her head. Naturally, she agreed, liking the sound of a day of peace where she didn’t have to hunt vampires, having been at it since time out of mind, even if it meant dying shortly thereafter. The real problem is that there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight to her list, and Bonnie’s life clock is ticking, big-time, down to some 48 hours by the end of this episode.

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What’s more, the voices in Rayna’s head aren’t exactly an exact science, thus making tracking all these vamps down not the easiest thing in the world as it was. As if that weren’t enough, Alex and the Armory are hot on the trail of Bonnie and Enzo as it is, with Alex actually catching up to them at one point.

Though Bonnie and Damon are able to give her and her Armory peeps the slip, Alex warns Enzo that they will find her sooner or later, but if he brings her in and she helps Alex open the mysterious vault underneath the Armory, then they’ll do everything they can to help her. We did find out the reason for Alex’s determination to get in there: it seems she has another sister besides Virginia, Yvette.

It seems that, for whatever reason- I’m assuming it can’t be good- Virginia had Lucy Bennett, a relative of Bonnie’s lock Yvette in said vault, and then promptly killed her, thinking Lucy was the last of her line. That explains why Virginia flipped out in the mental institution upon learning that Bonnie was also a Bennett and had been off Virginia’s radar when she was technically dead.

We also got the blanks filled in on what led Bonnie to go undercover at the asylum, though most of it we already knew, really, though we did discover that Alex knows about what Bonnie is up to and that she went undercover. What Alex doesn’t know is that Bonnie stopped taking the pills, which means she will be back on the Armory’s radar soon enough.

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Finally, we also got a brief reappearance, sort of, from Beau, the Heretic, who was one of the vampires that cropped up in a new body. Bonnie wanted to spare him, what with his having played a role in saving Caroline and the twins, but Damon put a stop to that by ripping out his heart, which didn’t exactly endear him any further to Bonnie.

Both Alaric and Stefan and Damon and Enzo hashed it out about their respective situations, with all concerned making decent points, but neither Alaric or Enzo went a long way towards convincing me that they should be with Caroline or Bonnie, respectively, for the reasons stated, quite frankly. Although at least Bonnie tried to sell it to Damon, which is more than I can say about Caroline, who was obviously rattled by Stefan’s appearance at her home.

Bonnie and Damon also had words, with Bonnie saying she only kept his letter to remind herself not to trust certain people, throwing it back at him in the process, but I think the lady doth protest too much, as it were. Damon made sure that Enzo knew that if Bonnie died he was holding him personally responsible and kill him, while Enzo pointed out that he’d made a mistake giving Bonnie the pills, whereas Damon made a choice to leave everyone behind.

That was about it for this episode, beyond the revelation that all concerned had a long way to go and a short time to get there in terms of completing Rayna’s list, while Rayna looked to be in worse shape that they left her in. All in all, an okay episode, if they didn’t quite pull off all the romantic entanglements convincingly.

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What did you think about the latest episode of “The Vampire Diaries”? Did you enjoy it more than I did? Do you think the show sold the whole Bonnie and Enzo thing better than I did? How about the whole Alaric and Caroline thing? Are these respective relationships doomed? What do you think will happen? Who will end up with who? Will the teams finish the list in time to save Bonnie? Or will Enzo be forced to take her to the Armory? Sound off on this and more down below and see you next week!